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NTSB: Chopper that Crashed into NY River Too Heavy

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Resucers at the helicopter crash. (Courtesy of the NYPD)

A federal report says a helicopter that crashed into the East River off New York City during a sightseeing tour last year was carrying too much weight.

Thursday's report from the National Transportation Safety Board doesn't conclude what caused the crash. That will likely be determined in two months.

But the report says the Bell 206 chopper was carrying an estimated 3,228 pounds when it crashed shortly after takeoff in September 2011. The aircraft's capacity was 3,200 pounds.

The accident killed three people. The pilot and one passenger survived.

The NTSB report says 56-year-old pilot Paul Dudley told investigators he asked passengers' weights and calculated they wouldn't be too heavy. But the surviving passenger said Dudley didn't ask or calculate the total weight.

Dudley didn't immediately return a message Thursday seeking comment.

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